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Our Mission

To develop charitable, educational and benevolent activities dedicated to the enrichment, development, and vitality of communities, natural resources and trail systems in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula through world-class events, creating informational and educational opportunities, encouraging national recognition, specifically with respect to advancing national and international sled dog sports including sled dog racing and an understanding of the historic role of sled dogs in a natural environment.

posted on 9/23/2012 10:31 PM by Todd Brassard | permalink | Back to Top

What Is CopperDog?

Hey! Let’s organize a sled dog race!

That’s what a small group of people said in 2009, and from that initial idea the CopperDog 150 and CopperDog 40 sled dog races were born.

Both races usually run the first weekend in March. The CopperDog 150 features teams of ten dogs and covers 150 miles in three days, while the CopperDog 40 features teams of six dogs and covers approximately forty miles in one day. The CopperDog 150 caps at thirty teams and the CopperDog 40 caps at fifteen teams. Which means … the first weekend in March finds 350+ dogs racing through Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula.

The CopperDog 150 and CopperDog 40 are organized by CopperDog, Inc., a 501(c)3 organization located in Calumet, Michigan, a small town in the middle of the Keweenaw Peninsula – a narrow finger of land on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula that juts into the middle of Lake Superior.  With an average annual snowfall of 241 inches it’s the perfect place for … well, a sled dog race.

Since its beginning the CopperDog races have attracted mushers from around the world. While many mushers come from the Midwest, each race usually has several Canadian mushers competing – and in 2011 and 2012 a musher from South Africa competed.

CopperDog is definitely a labor of love. It is an entirely volunteer operation, with more than 500 volunteers helping to put the race on. Local residents help mushers with their dogs, provide housing, and oversee trail crossings. Local police and fire departments volunteer their time to man all highway crossings and ensure the safety of all volunteers and participants. On its business end, CopperDog, Inc. is run by an unpaid volunteer board of directors.

CopperDog is more than just two sled dog races. In addition to promoting community vitality through sled dog racing, CopperDog strives to provide education on the history and sport of sled dog racing. Numerous public events – such as classroom visits, volunteer training, “Meet the Dogs” events, and free sled dog rides - are held throughout the year.

CopperDog is always looking for new volunteers. If you’d like to work with a great group of people and be part of one of the MOST FUN winter events you’ll ever see, please contact us. We can’t do it without you!

posted on 9/23/2012 9:38 PM by Lesley DuTemple | permalink | Back to Top

Race Volunteer Leadership

The CopperDog 150 would not be possible with the incredible community support and the incredible number of volunteers that come together each year.

This year's leadership is shown below. Maybe next year you can be part of the leadership team that serves the CopperDog150 race, our dog teams and mushers, our volunteers (including you?), and visitors that enjoy the awe inspiring experience of seeing sled dog teams up close and in action.

Click Here To Find Your Volunteer Opportunity Here!

posted on 1/30/2018 10:04 PM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

Resource Director - Renee Cunningham

Renee Cunningham, born and raised in Calumet, spent 20 years in the Detroit area before returning to the Keweenaw to help out with family.

In 2011, Renee became instrumental to the success of PJ Olsson's Rock Camp for Kids (Renee and PJ Olsson) pictured to the right, where she worked closely with Todd Brassard, the camp's director. At the time, Todd was also the Race Director for a new community event call the CopperDog 150. Todd wasted no time recruiting Renee for the CopperDog 150.

As of early 2018, Renee has been with the CopperDog 150 for 6 years. In the early days, Renee helped coordinate the food vendors, the Kids Sled Dog Rides, and the opening ceremony and start of the race - the big Friday night event that is the most popular high point of the weekend event.

Renee took on more responsibility joining the CopperDog Board of Directors in 2013 where she took on various roles typically related to communication, tasks and scheduling, and resource management.


In 2015, when the responsibilities of Race Director and Asst. Race Director were reorganized into Race Director, Community Director, and Resource Director by new board chair Brad King, Renee became the Resource Director.

Renee is married to Dan Cunningham. She enjoys hikes with her family during the warmer months, traveling with the family, reading and volunteering at her daughter Maryn’s school.

posted on 2/14/2016 8:10 AM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

Community Coordinator - Tony Laidlaw

Tony Laidlaw grew up in Grand Rapids Michigan. In high school he decided to go to college for full time ministry and moved to Pennsylvania and attended Baptist Bible college. In college he met his wife and started a family. He also developed a passion for the trades and spent 15 years as a cabinet and fine furniture builder. In 2009 God called Pastor Tony to come to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and work with First Baptist Church of Calumet, as well as Gitche Gumee Bible Camp of Eagle River. Tony and his family fell in love with the Keweenaw Peninsula, and the culture of the people who make this such a fantastic place to live and raise a family. He spent 3 years working with Gitche Gumee before moving to a full time position at First Baptist Church. He is now the lead pastor of First Baptist in Calumet. "As a pastor here in Calumet, I desire to see our community experience God's blessing. I pray for that. I pray that God will pour out His blessing on Calumet and Laurium and it's surrounding communities. Any time that something healthy and good is happening in our community, I'd like our church to be a part of serving it. Shouldn't the church be at the center of community enrichment? Shouldn't the church want to see it's community experience God's blessing? That is why I want to be involved in Copper Dog! I think it is good for our community and it's people. And I want our church to be a part of serving that!" Last year was Pastor Tony's first year serving Copper Dog, and he was in training under the previous Community Coordinator. Connecting with people is something that comes natural to him, and he looks forward to serving in this way as Community Coordinator this year.

posted on 12/23/2017 11:32 PM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

Volunteer Director - Brian Donnelly

Brian grew up in the Oskar Bay area and graduated from Houghton High School in 1996. He then moved downstate and attended Grand Valley State University, earning a BBA in Finance in 2001 and an MBA in 2010. After 16 years in Grand Rapids, Brian was excited to move back to the Copper Country, where he works as a Financial Advisor with Superior National Bank and Trust.

Brian brings plenty of event planning experience to the CopperDog team. During his years in Grand Rapids he was an active volunteer with the Grand Rapids Jaycees, including two terms on the Board of Directors. Brian is a founding member of Keweenaw Young Professionals, is currently the President of the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce and Vice President of Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance.

Brian and his wife, Darcy, love life in the U.P., where winter is truly winter. “The best way to fight off the winter doldrums is to just embrace the weather and enjoy it” he says. Brian has served 4 years as Volunteer Director, and is grateful for all of the wonderful people he has met through working with the race.

posted on 12/17/2012 3:10 PM by Todd Brassard | permalink | Back to Top

Musher Liaison- Krissy Kovachich

Krissy has been volunteering for Copper Dog since year one. She started out dog handling and working at several different crossings. Since 2015 she has been the Vet Check Leader at River Valley Bank. In 2016 she added the role of Vet Check Leader in Copper Harbor. This year her responsibilities have expanded to being part of the Sponsorship Committee, Musher Liaison, and assisting with the Volunteer Coordinator position.

posted on 12/21/2017 9:27 PM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

Chief Communications - Bill LaBell

Bill moved to the small U.P. town of Allouez from Southeast Michigan in 1992. He is the owner / mechanic of Quincy Hill Auto Repair. He has been a amateur radio operator (Ham) since 2008.

On most Sundays in the summer time he can be found at the Houghton County Historical Society running their 1915 Steam Locomotive.  He is also the Vice President/Treasurer of the Keweenaw County Repeater Association, Inc..

He has been with the CopperDog since its first year, where he worked radio at a road crossing and then the finish. The second year he assisted at net control and then ran it for the 2012 and 2013 races. Net control is the communications center and also where social media updates take place during the race.

For the 2014 race, his responsibilities will include running net control, recruiting and assigning radio volunteers. Radio operators consist of amateur radio operators (Hams) and local firemen.  A radio operator's responsibilities are to report crossing times and most important to relay all safety communications.

posted on 12/17/2012 3:10 PM by Todd Brassard | permalink | Back to Top

Trail Boss - Tony Shepeard

Tony is serving in his first year as Trail Boss. During his past few years as part of the trail crew he has demonstrated his knowledge and competence in knowing and managing the trails.

A more detailed bio to follow

posted on 1/5/2018 9:03 PM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

Safety - Chris Van Arsdale

Chris takes on the official monicker of head of Safety this year, but he is no stranger to the CopperDog150.

A more detailed Bio is on the way

posted on 1/5/2018 8:58 PM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

Sponsorship - Walt Kiiskila

Walt is a long time volunteer to the CopperDog 150 and a member of the Board of Directors. Walt has worn many hats over the years. He is leading sponsorships this year.

posted on 1/1/2018 1:44 AM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

Merchandise - Rob Greenhoe

Rob has been a long term volunteer with the CopperDog 150. Rob is a member of the CopperDog Board of Directors and has been responsible for merchandise. Wearing many hats, Rob also helps ensure that our sponsors are properly represented and publicized.

posted on 1/1/2018 1:41 AM by Erin Barnett | permalink | Back to Top

Banquets - Jon Koskiniemi

Jon Koskiniemi was born and raised in Laurium. He works at Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital and has been the Laurium Village Treasurer since 2002. Jon is our newest member of the Board of Directors.

Jon has been a volunteer to the CopperDog150 every year since the inception of the race. After being a dog handler for the first race Jon knew he was hooked. If you have attended a race then you probably have seen him in action.

Over the years, Jon has worn many hats: manning road crossings, building snow fence, helping with Kid's rides, organizing the Pasty Luncheon, musher parking, working the starts releasing teams to the shot, helping obtain sponsorships, being the coordinator for the Awards Banquet, catering the community appreciation night, race planning, and helping with the CopperDog for kids event at the Rozsa Center.

posted on 1/1/2018 1:50 AM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

Calumet Coordinator and Adopt-a-Musher - Anne Linja

Anne is in her 4th year volunteering at the CopperDog. She started out helping with fencing, moved on to help with mailings, and then led the "Adopt-A-Musher" program and sponsorship. She is the Calumet Coordinator this year.

Anne has been in the Copper Country since June 2014. She implements manufacturing software and is a full time graduate student at Michigan Tech in the Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors program. In her spare time she volunteers at church and KSNAG. For relaxation she plays the piano and flute.

posted on 1/1/2018 1:34 AM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

Copper Harbor Checkpoint - Sherry Mattson

Sherry has been involved in CopperDog150 since the start, with the exception of 2011 when she was in the hospital. Sherry started as a dog handler, but because of back issues went on to trail crossings, musher's luncheon, bag check coordinator, and Copper Harbor Coordinator.

Sherry likes to say her DNA is from here; her great grandfather worked the mill at Lac Labelle. The family later settled in Dollar Bay when her grandmother and the rest of the family came to live in the Copper Country in 1888. She has spent time up here every year of her life, and is grateful to be retired here. Sherry and her husband built their cabin in 2005. They made regular visits, at least twice a year, from 2006 to 2010. They moved here permanently in 2010. Sherry and her husband are both retired Episcopal priests, who love the woods and their 20 acres on Lake Superior. Sherry also enjoys photography, quilting, crocheting and making various goodies for the grandchildren. One daughter lives down state with her husband and the other is in North Carolina with her family.

posted on 1/1/2018 1:36 AM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

Eagle Harbor Coordinator - Sandi Boggio

Sandi Boggio found her way to the Keweenaw following her husband back to his home town of Eagle Harbor. Both are retired military (Thanks for your service!). Originally from Texas, Sandi has adapted well to the northern climate as witnessed by her commitment to the CopperDog150. Sandi started volunteering for the race in the first season 2009/2010. She started as a corssing guard then moved to be the Eagle Harbor Coordinator the next year. This will be Sandi's ninth year as Eagle Harbor Coordinator.

posted on 1/30/2018 10:53 PM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

Eagle River Checkpoint - Jan Reese

Jan's bio is on the way

posted on 1/1/2018 1:39 AM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

Race Planning - Meredith LaBeau

past Asst. Race Director, Race Director

Meredith LaBeau is the Process Engineering Manager with Calumet Electronics Corp., a leader in the manufacturing of high-performance printed circuit boards (PCBs). Meredith earned her PhD from Michigan Technological University researching future impacts of phosphorus on surface water quality in the Great Lakes Basin. Currently, she has been living in the Houghton/Hancock area for eight years with her husband Mike & daughter Cyra.

In 2011, Meredith became involved in the CopperDog 150 through a friend that played an active role in sponsorship & banners.  Meredith has always loved dogs, as her house door says “Every dog has his day (English)”, therefore volunteering with the Copperdog 150 was a natural fit.

Meredith stepped up her contributions in 2011/2012 taking on the duties of Asst. Race Director taking very active roles in key areas of planning the 2012 race.  The combination of Meredith's insight, drive, & focus on doing "the right thing" made her a perfect candidate for Race Director going into 2013/2014 season.  In August, 2013 Meredith was voted into the Race Director position for the 2014 race. In 2015 Meredith took a more behind-the-scenes role management many of the technical aspects of planning race weekend. In 2016, Meredith came back on as race director.

Meredith is in the Race Director seat for the 2017 race, but this will likely be her last year taking on a lead role with CopperDog. After many years of contributing to the success of CopperDog, she has earned some time off which she will use to focus on growing Calumet Electronics & continuing adventures with her family. 

Meredith avidly enjoys biking, running, hiking, & camping in the Keweenaw Peninsula & beyond.

posted on 2/14/2016 8:23 AM by Meredith LaBeau | permalink | Back to Top

Race Planning - Doug Harrer

past Asst. Race Director & Calumet Director

Doug Harrer, a native of the Keweenaw, lives in Calumet.  Doug spends much of his typical day traveling the Upper Peninsula as a Driver and Sales Rep. for Ferrellgas and has also served as a Trustee of the Calumet Village since 2006.

As the concept for the CopperDog 150 was first coming together, the Calumet Village Council was asked to provide a representative to sit on the CopperDog Board.  Feeling that the proposed event would be a good opportunity for Calumet businesses during a typically slow time of year, Doug volunteered and became involved.

As Doug learned the basics of mushing and helped in the planning of the inaugural event, his interest and enthusiasm grew.  Using his many years of experience as Inventory Manager at Somero, Doug managed the race's apparel, merchandise, and sales, which raises much needed funds for the event.  Doug moved on to managing musher parking and was a "Calumet Hooker" (the person that pulls a musher's snow-hook off the cable at the Calumet starting shoot) at the first race.

After experiencing the thrill and excitement of the event, Doug became very passionate about the sport and was ready to get more involved.  Later in 2010 Doug went on to be the clear choice to Chair the CopperDog 150 board.  Doug's balance of insight, experience and even temperament made him the perfect person to bring together the many different people and personalities that make up the Board.  Doug also served as Asst. Race Director at the second CopperDog 150 event in March of 2011.

In mid 2011 Doug served a key roll in establishing policy and procedures designed to make the CopperDog 150 successful and sustainable for many years to come.  With many fresh faces on the Board, Doug was re-elected as Chair and worked to establish the various committees to better distribute the immense work load of planning the epic sled-dog racing weekend.

Doug believes that between the beautiful terrain of the Keweenaw Peninsula, the dedication of mushers to their sport, and the ongoing support of local business, the CopperDog 150 will be one of the most prestigious sled-dog races in the Midwest.  Doug is honored and humbled to say he's been a part of the adventure since day one.

posted on 11/16/2011 7:09 AM by Todd Brassard | permalink | Back to Top

Race Adviser / Web Support - Todd Brassard

past Executive Director
past Race Director
past Marketing Director
past Technical Director

Todd Brassard is part engineer, part musician, part designer and a community activist who loves planning amazing events like the CopperDog 150 and PJ Olsson's Rock Camp.

For his day job, Todd is VP/COO at Calumet Electronics, a world-leader in the fabrication of high-performance printed circuit boards. Todd also works alongside his wife, Jessie Brassard, on various video and web projects side projects via Brassard Media. Jessie is a design guru and responsible for creation and evolution of the CopperDog 150 logo and much of CopperDog's strong branding elements.

Todd was introduced to the sport of mushing when he was recruited by Adam Johnson of Brockit and Karyn Olsson of the Upper Peninsula Marketing Department to produce a promotional video for Brewery Creek Racing.

Todd fell victim to charm of the dogs and the beauty of the sport.  In 2009, When he learned of a sled-dog race being organized for the Keweenaw, he volunteered his services (web programming) and his wife's talent (graphic design) and put together a web site for the event (

Todd joined the CopperDog Board and soon found himself working very closely with the CopperDog 150's founding Race Director, Brian Tiura.  Tiura was an inspiring leader for Todd and the newbie race planners. His "press on regardless" attitude demonstrated the conviction necessary to plan and execute such a large event.

Todd assumed the role of Race Director for 2011 when Tiura moved to Alaska. In this new role he imparted what he had learned from Brian, introduced some of his own ideas, and worked closely with other very smart people who really loved the event.

With one race under his belt, an amazing core planning team, and growing community buy-in, Todd focused on upping the "production value" of the CopperDog 150 in 2011/2012 by planning an ESPN worthy Friday night start, improving hospitality for the growing numbers of fans, and setting a more relaxed schedule for mushers and their dog teams. He also developed an online volunteer system to make it easier for volunteers to get involved race weekend.

Todd has served in various roles over the last few years and has stepped up to the role of Race Director for the 2015 race. Todd motto is "Happy healthy dogs, happy healthy mushers", which has recently been revised to include "Happy healthy volunteers!"

posted on 11/12/2014 5:05 PM by Todd Brassard | permalink | Back to Top

Graphics Design - Amber Voght

Amber is a graduate of Michigan Tech and is employed at Itiviti Group AB where she is responsible for technical documentation. Amber previously was the head of marketing for The LaSalle Technology Group, LLC, which was acquired by Itiviti in 2015. Amber grew up in Houghton, Michigan and is an avid outdoor person and adventurer. She and her family regularly volunteer for the CopperDog 150.

posted on 1/20/2018 12:26 AM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

Marketing and IT Support - Jim Northey

Jim and his wife Sonia Goltz and their family have lived in the Copper Country for 21 years. He brings a wealth of IT experience to the organization gained from his career developing financial technology standards and solutions for exchanges, brokerages, and trading firms. Jim also serves as the contact person for Contemplative Outreach in the UP of Michigan and is an adjunct instructor of finance at Michigan Tech.

Jim and Sonia have worked crossings on day three of the race in the recent past and also have helped with taking down the fencing and banners at the race start/finish in downtown Calumet.

Jim is enjoying working with Todd Brassard, using the system Todd created for large scale event management.

If you have any website issues or questions please send us an email to IT Support

posted on 12/24/2017 12:32 AM by Jim Northey | permalink | Back to Top

About Main Street Calumet

Main Street Calumet

Main Street Calumet was founded in 2003 as a result of community interest in historic preservation spurred by the presence of Keweenaw National Historical Park (est. 1992). Our program is a small part of a much larger group of Main Street Programs across the country. We follow guidelines laid out by the National Main Street program to find ensure our program is a success. Over the past 14 years Main Street Calumet has created multiple events such as Pasty Fest, Copper Dog 150, the Red Jacket Jamboree and hosted a variety of community programs such as small business seminars and the Main Street Calumet Farmer's Market.

The Main Street Calumet Mission

The mission of Main Street Calumet is to guide the revitalization of an exciting and vibrant historic downtown district that is attractive to residents and visitors. In the process the program will forge partnerships, foster development of community leaders, and facilitate the rehabilitation/restoration of its buildings and spaces to be occupied by an economically successful mix of business services and residents.

The Main Street Calumet Vision

The vision of Main Street Calumet is to become the community where people most want to visit and live. Healthy commercial and residential districts will satisfy the needs of a diverse population and interests while continuing to express the local copper mining heritage through preservation, education, and cultural events.

Contact Main Street Calumet

Leah Polzien, Executive Director
Telephone: (906) 337-6246

posted on 12/26/2017 11:30 PM by Todd Brassard | permalink | Back to Top

Board of Directors

Brad King, Chair

Walt Kiiskila, Treasurer

Renee Cunningham, Secretary

Rob Greenhoe, Board Member

Ken Stigers, Board Member

Jon Koskiniemi, Board Member

Contact Us

CopperDog, Inc.
P.O. Box 384
Calumet, MI 49913
MICS# 48044

Jeff Foss
Race Director

John Bryant
Asst. Race Director

Tony Laidlaw
Community Director

Renee Cunningham
Resource Director

Brian Isaksson
Trail Director

Brian Donnelly
Volunteer Director

Krissy Kovachich
Asst. Volunteer Director

Todd Brassard
Race Planning

Doug Harrer
Race Planning

Meredith LeBeau
Race Planning

Website Support

Copyright (C) 2009 - 2018 Todd Brassard. All rights reserved.